Martin Stingelin Former Senior Fellow

Martin Stingelin
April - September 2013


Martin Stingelin, born 1963 in Binningen, Switzerland, is Professor of Modern German Litera-ture at the University of Dortmund since 2006. Having studied German Philology, Modern German History and General History of the Middle Ages in Basel, Stingelin was a research assistant in Modern German Literature at the University of Basel from 1991 to 1998. In 1995, he earned his Ph.D. with a dissertation entitled „‘Unsere ganze Philosophie ist Berichtigung des Sprachgebrauchs‘. Friedrich Nietzsches Lichtenberg-Rezeption im Spannungsfeld zwischen Sprachkritik (Rhetorik) und historischer Kritik (Genealogie)“. From 1998 to 2001, he held a fellowship for advanced researchers by the Schweizerische Nationalfonds. Stingelin was ap-pointed Professor of Modern German Literature in 2001 at University of Basel. In 2010, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Parma. He directs the SNF-funded editorial pro-ject “Der späte Nietzsche” and the, equally SNF-funded, research project “Zur Genealogie des Schreibens. Die Literaturgeschichte der Schreibszene von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegen-wart.“ Within this context, Martin Stingelin is currently working on a project that traces the relation between politics and the process of writing, since a cultural history that acts on the assumption of a politically motivated “Schreibszene” is still to be formulated.

Dated from 2013

IKKM Research Project

The Writing Scene as a Political Scene. On the Historical and Systematic Relationship between Writing and Politics No constitution of a state without constitution (Verfassung) (in both senses of the term verfassen, to constitute and to write and draft), no laws without writing, no administration without paperwork, no democratic public sphere without publicity, no revolution without manifestos – and still there exists no cultural history of the practical relationship between writing and politics. The methodological starting point of the proposed project is the concept of the ‘writing scene’. The concept is particularly suited to opening up such a widely heterogeneous and unexplored area of investigation, one which defies the clear partitioning of science. ‘Writing’ – that is the assumption – is composed of three closely interdependent elements – corporeality, instrumentality and language – which together form a ‘scene’ on which all three may present themselves as sources of potential resistance that have to be overcome in the act of writing. Where writing finds itself as such impeded by these forms of resistance, it thematizes, problematicizes and reflects in an eminently literary fashion on the context by which it is, as it were, lifted out of everyday practice on to a stage. It also thematizes, problematicizes and reflects on the assignment of the roles which are portrayed on this writing scene by raising the issue of (stage) direction. These six parameters – language (semantics of writing), instrumentality (technology of writing) and gestures (corporeality of writing); context, role assignment(s) and direction – offer a highly flexible analytical framework for the reconstruction of complex writing scenes, which vary historically as well as individually from one author to the next and occasionally require a singular specification of the phases or stages of their evolution, but which are methodologically only reconstructible retrospectively, may be grasped in a conceptually highly flexible manner. As a basic concept of a transdisciplinary science of writing and knowledge, the concept of the ‘writing scene’ thus enables the integration of the philological and writing-material situations of writing and the writer as well as their attendant social circumstances into a praxeological model. The history of this writing scene is its ‘genealogy’, which interprets not only ‘the entire history of a “thing”, an organ, a practice’, for example that of writing, as a ‘continuing chain of signs of constantly new interpretations and adjustments’ but also includes ‘the resistance which arises[…] each time against these processes of overpowering. (Friedrich Nietzsche) The genealogy of political writing depends on the concept of ‘the political’, which is, in turn, itself extremely controversial. ‘A history of the concept of politics has yet to be written,’ Reinhart Koselleck wrote in Kritik und Krise – a remark which is valid even today. For this reason – and this is one of the emphases of the proposed project – the conceptual and practical history of political writing must be examined from two different angles, as ‘writing’ and as ‘politics’, in order to study the distance between the two and the close relationship, i.e., the entanglement of both strands on the basis of writing scenes. To this end an approach is required which expands the field under investigation as far as possible in order to gain a view of the entire panorama of political writing. Thus, by ‘a politics of writing’ is meant not only the involvement of writers or a politics of literature, which reacts to the world of political events, but also the entire transversal complex of political writing. This complex includes numerous entirely heterogeneous processes that involve both the history of the subject, of the social fields and their institutions (in particular those which assume power-related or state-supportive roles) and the aisthetic regime: 1. die ‘pre-political horizons of meaning’ (Andreas Reckwitz) that constitute the subject as political in the first place, i.e., those technologies of the self and forms of self-regulation that find expression in the process of writing and are produced only then; 2. writing as a resistant practice of political opposition; 3. the significance of writing for macropolitical events: the founding of states, legislation, political decisions, revolutions; 4. the instrumentalization of writing for the purpose of retaining power or for enforcing dominance in the administrative apparatus; 5. the writing of the signature as a medium and means of legitimation of law; 6. writing as the (problematic) basis of every economic transaction; 7. as a means of social self-description (whether it be of a biographical, historical and/or scientific/scholarly nature); 8. the aesthetic institution and sharing out of the world, of space and time, as it is produced by writing. The proposed project thus finds itself confronted with a multitude of complex problems which involve both the history of writing in the narrow sense (that is, as literature) of the term and in the broader sense (as the writing of politics, law, economics and the private sphere).



Das Netzwerk von Gilles Deleuze: Immanenz im Internet und auf Video. Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000. „Unsere ganze Philosophie ist Berichtigung des Sprachgebrauchs“: Friedrich Nietz-sches Lichtenberg-Rezeption im Spannungsfeld zwischen Sprachkritik (Rhetorik) und historischer Kritik (Genealogie). München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1996.

Edited Books

with Claas Morgenroth and Matthias Thiele: Die Schreibszene als politische Szene. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2012. with Claas Morgenroth and Matthias Thiele: Portable Media: Schreibszenen in Bewe-gung zwischen Peripatetik und Mobiltelefon. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2010. with Davide Giuriato and Sandro Zanetti: „Schreiben heißt: sich selber lesen“: Schreibszenen als Selbstlektüren. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2008. with Davide Giuriato and Sandro Zanetti: „System ohne General“: Schreibszenen im digitalen Zeitalter. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2006. Biopolitik und Rassismus. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2003.


with Claas Morgenroth and Matthias Thiele: „Politisches Schreiben. Einleitung“. In: ders.: Die Schreibszene als politische Szene. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2012, p. 7-33. „Nachwort“. In: José Antonio Marina (ed.): Die Passion der Macht: Theorie und Praxis der Herrschaft. Basel: Schabe Verlag, 2011, p. 177-183. with Matthias Thiele: „Portable Media. Von der Schreibszene zur mobilen Aufzeich-nungsszene“. In.: Portable Media: Schreibszenen in Bewegung zwischen Peripatetik und Mobiltelefon. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2010, p. 7-27. „Telephon für Friedrich Nietzsche“. In: Alexander Roesler and Bernd Stiegler (eds.): Philosophie in der Medientheorie: Von Adorno bis Žižek. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2008, p. 199-216. „Deleuze, Bartleby und Wakefield, Spinoza“. In: Peter Gente and Peter Weibel (eds.): Deleuze und die Künste. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2007, p. 95-105.